The ITUC-Asia Pacific demands the immediate release of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) President Yang Kyeung-soo who was arrested this morning, 2 September 2021. The arrest took place in a raid of the KCTU headquarters 20 days after a warrant was issued to President Yang by the Seoul Central District Court for organising a rally on 3 July, which allegedly violates the Act on Demonstration and Assembly and the Act on Infectious Disease Prevention and Control.
The International Trade Union Confederation has maintained in its earlier statement that the arrest warrant was “wrong and disproportionate” as the participants observed social distancing rules and necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing of masks and temperature checks.
“We condemn the unjust arrest of KCTU President Yang and demand his immediate release. The arrest of President Yang and the raiding of the KCTU headquarters are clearly an attempt to suppress workers’ freedom of association and the right to peaceful assembly. The Korean government must stop using the pandemic to justify the crackdown on peaceful assemblies. It is in this challenging time that the rights of the workers must rather be protected and respected,” Shoya Yoshida, General Secretary of the ITUC-Asia Pacific said.
On 20 October, KCTU will hold a nationwide strike to demand fundamental labour rights for all workers, a Just Transition, and stronger public services and social protection. The nationwide strike is expected to be participated by a million attendees.
“The ITUC-Asia Pacific also denounces the police’s insistence to conduct the investigation and President Yang’s trial under his detention. This is an apparent manoeuvre to prevent the KCTU from organising the nationwide strike on 20 October,” Shoya Yoshida said.
Shoya Yoshida echoes the statement of KCTU, “Indeed, the actions against President Yang will not successfully quell the voices of the Korean workers, but will rather fuel the discontent of the workers who remain adamant in their legitimate demands to protect and save lives and jobs of the Korean workers amidst the crisis. We stand in solidarity with KCTU and their members, especially to President Yang, in their struggle.”
Photo by: KCTU